A strong gallop by Mrs Onassis at Rosehill on Tuesday was enough to convince trainer Gerald Ryan the mare is ready to kick off her autumn campaign in Saturday’s Group 1 2013 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield.
Ryan had originally considered delaying her return an extra week but all doubts about tackling a Group 1 first-up were allayed following the gallop.
“The way she worked this morning, I’m quite happy with her,” Ryan said.
The five-year-old hasn’t been seen since a strong spring campaign which included winning twice at Listed level and recording minor placings in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes and the Group 3 Sportingbet Sprint.
It will be the Group 1 debut for the daughter of General Nediym who has won seven of 17 starts and collected $265,000 in prizemoney.
She will carry 52.5kg in the $400,000 sprint, 5.5kg less than top weights Ortensia and Woorim (58kg).
Mrs Onassis has had just one official trial heading into the race which she won comfortably by four lengths ahead of Ortensia.
Twenty two horses have been nominated to fill the 18 spots in the Oakleigh Plate field.
One of the most hyped horses in the field is Perth star Barakey who arrived in Melbourne safely on Monday night ahead of his east-coast debut.
The Jim Taylor-trained gelding is unbeaten from 11 starts but faces by far the biggest test of his career this weekend.
Other notable Oakleigh Plate contenders include Queensland geldings Spirit Of Boom and Adebisi, 2012 placegetter Facile Tigre and Robert Smerdon-trained Group 1 winner Lone Rock.
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